Posts Tagged ‘detox diet’

The purpose of the elimination diet is to discover how food affects your body, mind and emotions. Because our typical American diet is composed of so many different foods it can be hard to discern how the body is reacting to each food.  It’s a bit like trying to see the horizon on a foggy day.  By taking time to “de-fog” our system we can then experience what it is like to be in a body relatively free of toxins and as we reintroduce items back into our diet we can compare our experiences.  So here’s the skinny on the 28 day elimination diet.

A few basic things to consider:

  1. Challenge & Opportunity.  To succeed with the elimination diet you need to have the intention and commitment to go all the way with it.  It isn’t something that you can just slip into without changing several aspects of your daily routines.  It is an all encompassing diet as you will see below.  That being said, it should be more exciting than intimidating.  We can choose to embrace these 28 days as an opportunity to clear out our trenches and get excited about the opportunity we’re giving ourselves to deepen our experience of life.
  2. Education & Inspiration.  This “diet” is more of an education process than your typical results-oriented diet.  Before we get the process started we need to prepare our minds and psyche so that we will have the room inside ourselves needed to perceive any shifts that may occur.  Remember, the shifts aren’t limited to just our physical body, you’ll likely find your overall sensitivity and ability to engage with life amplifies. 
  3. Teammates & Cheerleaders.  A little team moral never hurt anyone.  In fact, it’s hard to make it through life without the support from others!  So spread the word, tell your family and friends that you’ll be doing this diet and why.  They’ll likely be really supportive and you may even find someone who wants to do it with you. 
  4. Track it.  As we trek through our journey you may find it helpful to keep some notes or a journal about what you notice.  Keep track of things like common symptoms (headaches, nasal congestion, skin irritations, any kind of pain, irritability, hyperactivity, dark circles under the eyes, vomiting, fatigue, muscle aches, abdominal pain, etc.) Keep in mind that symptoms may occur instantly after eating, within a few hours or even several days later.   The purpose of the journal is to help us get clarity.  It is not to track calories, or obsess about how much you have eaten.  Both of these behaviors undermine the purpose of this particular diet.
  5. 5.   Check it out.  Before you get started be sure to check out your nutritional supplements, over-the-counter medications, mints and chewing gum.  All these can contain irritating proteins, so check out the ingredients and if you have any questions please post them on our discussion board.
  6. Keep it clean.  Exclude all alcohol, coffee, cigarettes and other recreational drugs for the entire 28 days.  If possible drink purified water throughout the entire diet, and when making teas and smoothies.

Road Map

Now that you’ve got some basic preparations down it’s good to look at the territory we’ll be covering over the 28 days.  There are 5 phases:

Phase 1:  Days 1 & 2
First Stop Smoothie Central!

We kick of the elimination diet in style by spending the first 2 days with a green smoothie fast.  This means that you get to get your green on all day long!  (Puts a whole new spin on going green doesn’t it?!)
 If you have the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook you’ll find some excellent smoothie recipes on pages 97-99.  If you don’t have the book we highly recommend you get it, but if you can’t, you can check out this blog for smoothie ideas.  Remember to use purified water when making smoothies, and since you’ll be drinking these for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 2 days be sure to make smoothies that taste good to you!  This is one of those things where the achievement isn’t greater because you’ve beared more!  It should be reasonably painless. 😉

If you already know that you’re digestion is sensitive to cold, or you find you have abdominal cramping/bloating as you go through these first 2 days, then try making warm smoothies by using hot water.  (If you do, remember to not put the blender top all the way on- this prevents smoothie explosion – speaking from personal experience here folks- defiantly not the way you want to start off your day!)

Phase 2:  Days 3-9
The journey continues as we move into the heart of our inner spring cleaning with phase 2.  During this phase we focus on consuming hypo-allergenic foods, meaning foods that are unlikely to elicit any irritation.  This means you get to enjoy fresh fruits, veggies, some beans and some whole grains.  Feel free to continue the green smoothies through this phase.  While most fruits and veggies are game you will want to exclude the following as they are common irritants: strawberries, citrus, kiwi, bananas and pineapples.  All other fruits are game.

Just to give you an idea of some of the veggies you can look forward to during this phase here’s a brief list of foods you can have: steamed veggies, raw salads, avocado, mung beans, adzuki beans, roasted yams with olive oil, steamed sweet potatoes, squash, lentils, quinoa, teff, brown rice, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, dried figs and currants.  *It’s best to buy beans dried and cook them yourself because many canned beans may be cross contaminated with gluten.  

Phase 3:  Days 10-15
Movin’ on to phase 3.  In this phase we get to start adding back in potentially reactive foods.  So you’ll want to be sure to pay attention to how you feel and any symptoms that arise.  If you do notice any uncomfortable changes take the food that you think is causing it back out of your diet.

Add in: For day 10-13 add in lemons and limes.  (If you have the book be sure to check out Lemon & Lentil soup on page 150- it’s oh so good!)  If its smooth sailin’ for you through these days, then on day 13 add in recipes with wheat-free tamari (wheat free soy sauce).

 If you have a reaction to either the tamari or the lemons and limes remove the culprit from the diet immediately, returning to the hypo-allergenic foods for 24 hours or until the symptoms have completely cleared.  Then move on to the next phase.

Phase 4:  Days 16-28
As we hone in on the finish line with Phase 4 add back in all beans, including soy and nuts.  If you have no problems with these you may want to add in salmon as well.  At this junction of the diet you can add in tofu and/or tempeh for three days.  If you have no reaction then you can follow all the recipes in the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook except those that contain gluten, eggs, corn, yeast and dairy.

You’re just about there!  Food Freedom is insight!  At this point you can add in eggs, dairy, gluten, corn and yeast one at a time back into your diet.  Here are some suggestions: Try gluten-free rice bread to test yeast, milk for diary, sprouted rye bread for gluten, polenta for corn and poached or scrambled eggs for eggs.  Eat these foods three times a day for 3 days.  If you have no reaction move on to the next.  If you have a reaction take it out of your diet and wait 24 hours or until symptoms have cleared before challenging the next food.

That’s it! Hopefully at the end of this journey you’ll know the foods that cause problems for you and you can take them out of your diet. 

Remember, you can buy the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook here, or if you live in the Seattle area you can pick up a copy at Synergy Wellness Center in Bellevue.  Also be sure to check out the Whole Life Nutrition blog for more recipe ideas and elimination diet guidelines.  And be sure to check back on this blog as we’ll be posting updates and ideas we venture through 28 days to Food Freedom!  Lastly, be sure to check out the Eating for Evolution Discussion Board and feel free to post any questions, comments, or just share your experience with us.  We’d love to hear it as we’re all in it together!

Here’s to concious eating!


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That subject line was just too cute to resist… But what the heck does it mean? 🙂

As many of you know, we  are about to collectively embark on a 28 day Elimination and Detoxification Diet.
My husband Darren has agreed to take this on as well. This comes as a HUGE surprise to me as I have never seen the man go one day with out ample amounts of bread and cheese! He’s British and I’m not sure he can imagine a breakfast that does not include at the very least a well jammed English muffin.

The purpose of the 28 day program is not to lose weight (although most people do), or to deprive oneself of food pleasure, or to create a scenario desperate for an inevitable binge. It is very beautifully designed to do a few key things:

1. Give your entire body a chance to “catch up” and recover. To detoxify stuff that it has not been able to deal with due to stress (internal or external). The world is indeed more polluted than it has ever been and the ramifications are evident in our “interiors.”

2. To allow subsequent building up of systems and reconnection of internal communication. This equals greater clarity, sense of connectedness, and sheer vitality.

3. To find out what foods may be causing problems in your system. Food sensitivities are absolutely pervasive within the US. There are many factors involved in this, but what we know is that if one continues to eat what they are sensitive to, it causes a whole host of problems. This is a perfect opportunity to find out what may be contributing to any symptom you may be experiencing.

It is not a fast, although you have the option of doing the first two days with just “green smoothies“.  It is a lovely time for feasting on simple whole, life giving foods!

I will be posting the basic instructions within the week. I sure hope you’ll join us starting April 3rd!! You might in the meantime like to order the book The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook. It has the entire 28 day program spelled out in the back and is filled with over 200 recipes that will keep you eating beautifully and with ease during the entire 28 days.

We’ll also be providing recipes and support on our EFE community site. I’m so looking forward to it!

Here’s to internal Spring cleaning and Darren’s very first Elimination and Detoxification diet!

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simple green

Photo by Eric Schey

To add onto our theme of Spring posts I’ve been thinking about simplicity. For ages spring has been associated with simplicity. Following in Mother Natures footsteps we are naturally inclined to drop excess and take in only what we need to fuel our growth. This is a perfect time of year to lighten our load by detoxing the body by eating fresh and simple meals. Despite the hottest trends of eating local, fresh and organic, our modern lifestyle far exceeds the realm of simplicity. Perhaps this is because our motives are derived from fear of our current environmental crisis, or our conscious or sub-conscious desire to fulfill the popular “go green” image. It seems obvious that living a “green” lifestyle does not necessarily equate to living a life of simplicity, so I got to wondering, what does it really mean to live a simple lifestyle?

In our “go green!” culture simplicity seems to be a very misunderstood concept. We realize the way we are living now far exceeds the sustainable and moral life that we are striving for, but clearly it isn’t practical or productive to simply drop the way we live now and “go back” to living the way our ancestors did. Rather than regressing we need to find a new way of relating to simplicity. We’re use to thinking of simplicity as a something we do, an action we take to reduce complexity. For example, my husband and I use wind power electricity, we carpool or ride the bus when possible, we eat organically and of course, we’re avid recyclers. All admirable and necessary actions, but I think there is a deeper gem to be found in living simplistically. I think it isn’t something we do as much as it is something we become an expression of.

I am reminded of the ancient Taoists and how they understood the universe to be a process unfolding. They were acutely aware of the movement of qi and believed that nothing should be done to impede the maturation of the movement. They believed one should align themselves with the flow so as to not disturb the unfolding. As a result they lived simple lives in accordance with the spontaneous unfolding of the universe. But what about the times we’re living in now? We’re faced with an all time critically high crisis’s, problems our ancestors did not have to deal with. There is no question in my mind that our survival depends on us being able to find simpler ways of living, but just what that looks like is still a mystery. It’s possible we’ll come together through community, or create some new technology that will save us from extinction. The list of possibilities is endless, but unfortunately all too easy to push off onto the shoulders of others.

What I’m interested in exploring is what each individual can do right now to start living more simply. While I don’t have the answer, I do think it requires seeing the changes that need to be made and having the integrity to act on them. But perhaps more importantly, it’s about having the courage to make a declaration for something beyond the individual self. Like the Taoists believed, it’s about aligning ourselves with the unfolding of evolution.

I think examining one’s relationship to food is a great way to explore simplicity. As we begin to really look at our relationship to food and pay attention to what it is our bodies want we find that they’re hungry for simplicity. The body runs best on foods that are in easy to digest combinations and they crave foods that are local, fresh and organic. But I think there’s even more to it than that, because as I mentioned above, even if we’re making these wonderful and smart choices around food, it doesn’t necessarily mean our relationship to food is any different. It can still be convoluted with impure motivations and fraught with personal fears and desires.

Check it out
As usual, don’t just take my word for it. Check it out yourself.
Contemplate what simplicity means and what it really looks like to be an expression of it?
What does it look like to eat from this position of simplicity?


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My last post was very serious… and I realize that we need that seriousness at times in order to counter balance our often too casual relationship to life.

I was watching a movie called “The Beautiful Country” the other night. It was beautifully done and what was striking to me was the truthful depiction of what people in many other countries experience as a way of life… things that we are so far removed from. The main character, a Vietnamese young man, went through an extraordinary journey in order to come to “the beautiful country” of America. I was watching this and reflecting on how many patients I see every week who are horribly unhappy with their incredibly plush life. Reflecting on our obsession with being thin when people in many parts of the world would die to have some food and clean water. The disparity is simply incredible.

So when I say that we often have  a “too casual relationship to life,” this is what I am referring to. We have it good, really good and, in general, we do not take this seriously. I am bringing this up because we need to wake up. I’m not suggesting that we wallow in guilt or engage in idealist thoughts of returning to the “good old days,” when we lived on the land. It would be fantastic if we started by taking responsibility, right now, for where we are at and where we want to go. I see our relationship to food as a fantastic place to start.

What to do?

Start with giving thanks. This has nothing to with religion and everything to do with what is right. So much went into what is on your plate in any given moment. Before you dive in, take a moment and feel the gratitude in your Being for the gift that is in front of you.

Pay attention to what is in season in your area, and eat those foods. This establishes a fundamental, biologic and energetic connection between that which renews your very being, and the Earth system from which that springs. If we are really going to create a movement that leads to a sustainable future, we are going to have to experience this connection (between Earth and Man) at a cellular level. There is no better way to do this than to eat what the local earth brings forth in season.

Right now it is Spring in the lush Northwest. Spring is the time of renewal and regrowth. This renewal happens in nature, and man/woman is not separate from that. When we eat foods in season we cultivate what I like to call “the spring within.”

I will post more on Spring Eating Tips in a couple of days. But for now I wanted to share with you one of my favorite spring recipes.

Sour Plum-marinated Asparagus

Vinegar from the Asian ume plum makes this marinate delightfully sour. The sour flavor can help to decongest the liver and gall bladder, which in turn supports the “spring within.” The juice from a ripe minneola, tangelo or orange rounds out the flavors and creates an inspiring movement of flavors in your mouth!

Serves: 4                                                       Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 to 10 minutes            Marinate: 1 to 3 hourIMG_4389

1 large bunch of asparagus

⅓ cup unrefined, extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup ume plum vinegar
Juice from one medium-size orange or tangelo
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons orange or tangelo zest

Wash and trim asparagus. Place in boiling, salted water for 3 to 5 minutes (less time for thinner asparagus). Rinse in cold water and place in 9- by 13-inch baking dish.

Mix all marinade ingredients together and pour over asparagus. Let marinate for up to 3 hours.

Pour extra marinade over steamed brown rice and lay asparagus over the top…hot or cold.

Save these juices to marinade other veggies, fresh free range chicken, or you can make a tasty dressing out of it!


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